Change Several times I’ve mentioned in my blog articles that I’m amazed at the positive changes my husband has made since D-day, changes I never thought possible. I’ve made changes as well. Both of our changes have benefited our relationship in constructive ways. But recently he did something that was a huge trigger for me and had me questioning if it was truly possible for him to change so that I could feel completely safe in our marriage. When my husband was actively sneaking around in his affair he told me that he had made changes to second shift at work and he had to go back and ensure things were running smoothly. Because of the nature of his job I never questioned him. My biggest worry was that he returned home in time to get a decent night’s sleep. As I’ve said previously, sleeping in separate rooms because of his snoring certainly made these late nights possible without arousing suspicion. Fast forward more than two years and one evening a few weeks ago my husband said he had to go back to work to close the louvers. No big deal, right? But it seemed to take longer than it should. I know he gets sidetracked so I didn’t think too much about it. Then it happened the next night and the next and the next. By then I was deeply suspicious. I have the app “Find Friends” installed on our phones so I began checking. He was definitely at work. At least his phone was. So then my mind went places I had hoped it would never go again. He was having an affair. He either left his phone at work and went to her or had her meet him there. I wanted to trust. Oh how I wanted to trust! But I was convinced, no, I knew that he was up to something. I was right. After several agonizing days he sat me down to confess. My heart began to pound. My ears were ringing. I was prepared for the worst. It’s amazing how many thoughts ran through my head in the few seconds it took him to tell me what was going on. He wasn’t having an affair but he had been lying all along. He had lent money to an employee to purchase a dog and then due to unforeseen circumstances he couldn’t take the dog home. She was living in a kennel at the shop and my husband was going back in the evening to feed and play with the dog. I was furious and not very nice about it either. I felt betrayed all over again. Yes, it was betrayal on a smaller scale but betrayal just the same. His excuse? He “knew” I would say no about lending the money, not a small amount, so he just did it behind my back. And herein lays the root of the problem. In order get what he wants my husband will lie, either outright or by omission. He doesn’t trust me or our relationship enough to have open communication. During our heated discussion he further excused his actions by saying that he did this as a child as well and proceeded to give me a couple of examples that “turned out great” in the end. Not a good move on his part. Being deceptive is a way of life for my husband. During our EMSO class he admitted that he can justify anything to get what he wants. I can list many times during our marriage that he has deceived me in various ways. Post D-day I thought he understood how destructive his actions are to our relationship. Evidently not. So the heartbreaking question for me to ponder is whether or not my husband can change an ingrained trait. If not then do I leave or live with it. Neither option is very attractive to me. Change is part of life. Nothing is stagnant. Jobs are lost, loved ones pass away, children grow and move on, life changes. In his article The Mystery of Change, Rick says, “Betrayal forces change. This is a problem because few of us know what to do with the change, especially when that change is facilitated by one of the most gut wrenching, life altering events known to a marriage. Whether we like it or not, change is an inescapable part of life and it behooves us to learn how to use it productively, even in the case of marital betrayal or addiction.” Learning of my husband’s infidelity certainly changed me. The obvious is that I’m less trusting, not just of my husband but of people in general. I second guess peoples’ motivations in ways I never have before. In my marriage I demand respect in ways I never had the courage to before. My husband responds positively instead of with anger. He’s less defensive. I’m trying to be less judgmental. His infidelity has changed us both. In his article Is Change Really Possible?, Rick states, “Infidelity certainly has the potential to create habit change.” You can either return to old, bad habits such as drinking in excess or you can change bad habits. He goes on to ask the question, “So where do we begin? The problem with habits is that they are unconscious.” The first step has to be desire to change. Either you’re willing to put forth the effort necessary to rewire your brain and change a bad habit or you’re not. In Part 2 of his article Rick explains the steps necessary to change a habit. It doesn’t happen without effort. I read somewhere that it takes at least three weeks to change a habit. That’s three weeks of constant effort. When I discovered that my husband had deceived me again I was completely honest with him. I don’t know if it’s possible for him to change. I don’t even know if he wants to. I wasn’t very nice about it. Sure, he’s made a lot of positive changes but these were the easy ones to make. They didn’t take as much effort. Can he make the big change necessary for me to feel safe? Our entire marriage I haven’t confronted his behavior towards me. No more. That’s a change I’ve made for the better, in my opinion. Affair Recovery says over and over that they want to do more than just save marriages. They want to help those of us “affected by infidelity find extraordinary lives of meaning and purpose.” Rick and Affair Recovery seek to “let the crisis created by the infidelity serve as a catalyst for positive change…” This takes targeted action. I am no longer willing to settle for mediocre. I demand better for my marriage, for my life. My husband and I will either change for the good together or he’ll stagnate alone. My desire is that he wants to change, not for me, not for our marriage, but for himself. It’s up to him just as it’s up to you to make positive change. Remember, you’re stronger than you think you are, braver than you believe.